Push against anti-immigrant bill

Maine should push back against anti-immigrant efforts, such as that proposed by Republican Rep. Lawrence Lockman, who has submitted LD 366, An Act to Ensure Compliance with Federal Immigration Law by State and Local Government. It has a public hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday. Those opposed to the bill should make every effort to attend the hearing or contact their legislators.

LD 366 requires that towns demand their local police officers act as immigration agents. Should the bill pass and become law, the penalty for municipalities that do not comply would be the termination of all state funds. LD 366 is a stark example of federal overreach, altering the rules on short notice so government can meddle in local affairs.

Maine is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. We desperately need our police officers to focus on helping to control this epidemic. Immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population, so why expend our precious resources on policing them? Also, imagine the chaos as our local police officers, without any training as immigration agents, try to interpret and enforce very complicated federal immigrations laws. Lawsuits seem inevitable.

Passage of LD 366 would have a chilling effect on anyone in the state who does not descend from Anglo-Saxon stock. At a time when Maine needs young immigrants to step in and help staff our hospitals and nursing homes, LD 366 would discourage people from giving us the hand we need.

Kathreen Harrison


Punishing people with hardships

An Act to Strengthen Work Participation in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, LD 1017, proposes that individuals receiving TANF benefits may no longer use “good cause” reasons to excuse an inability to comply with the work participation requirements of their contract, allowing the state to suspend benefits for adults without notice. If not found in compliance within 90 days, they will lose the benefits for the entire family.

Because someone loses TANF benefits for noncompliance, it does not mean they no longer have need or that they would be able to immediately find employment. And in the case of what “good cause” reasons previously included, such as the illness of a child or relative, would be equally good cause to take time off from work. In fact, these situations are often protected in the workplace by existing laws. Furthermore, under current law, good cause reasons must be received in a short time frame are not accepted without due consideration and review.

An Act to Strengthen Work Participation in the TANF Program is scheduled for a hearing on April 24. Please take the time to let your senator and representative know that LD 1017 does not strengthen work participation; it puts individuals in an impossible position. It punishes people who already are dealing with hardship. Certainly, it is in the best interest of everyone to allow TANF recipients some flexibility and understanding while they pursue the training and assistance TANF/ASPIRE provides to help them gain meaningful and sustaining employment.

Margaret Hanna


Why we have the Second Amendment

I read the BDN’s April 17 editorial about the ride of Paul Revere, the Lexington confrontation of British regulars by patriot militia and other musings. The part about the Lexington confrontation, to me, highlights the full benefit and purpose of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The editorial mentioned that the British were marching to Lexington to try and capture rebel leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams. As important, and not mentioned in the editorial, was the other focus of the British jaunt — to capture stores of rifles, black powder and shot and to confiscate arms.

Without the patriotic resolution of the population to free itself from English domination our country would not be. If the British had captured those arms and accessories our country might not be. The Second Amendment is as important today as it was then, and for a very good reason.

I wholeheartedly agree that Patriot’s Day needs to be elevated to a more prominent place in our list of observances, perhaps not necessarily a holiday but recognized and observed for what it is — the beginning of the great American experience.

Gregory Palman